hammocks

Woven hammock, constructed from 5 strips of woven cotton cloth of the 'tortoise' (haku) basket wave pattern in black and white. The hammock slung is double layered, with a loop at each through which a short pole can be inserted and secured by ropes for suspension. 2 panels with red weft inlay have been stitched along the length of the main slug, each marked by two yellow and purple tassels.

Sierra Leonean county cloth hammock with 'tortoise' or 'haku' basket weave, collected by Paul Shuffrey, District Commissioner of Pujehun from 1913 to 1923. Hammocks such as this were commonly used to carry chiefs and other 'big men' in rural Sierra Leone along the narrow forest pathways that connected villages before the construction of wider road networks after World War II. Hammocks of this kind were also a favoured form of transport for early colonial officials. Travelling hammocks were often accompanied by a carrying frame and a wooden cover, slung with cloth, to keep the passenger in the shade, however these are often missing in European collections. This example has particularly fine side flaps decorated with weft inlay. These would have hung down from the main hammock slung and been the most visible part of the weaving displayed to the public. Hammocks were sometimes specially woven for specific events and made to match the outfit of its passenger.

Collection Information

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